Tag Archives: snacks

Lentil Sunflower Dip

Standard

A nice mid-day snack full of fiber, protein, with no added fats, and offering the perfect chance to get in some more veggies. This is my version of the health.com recipe.

You’ll probably want to make it easy on yourself and grab a can of lentils. But, in full disclosure, I’ll have you know that as a Certified Mexican™ I’m a total bean snob and always cook my own from scratch. (Note: Just now in that last sentence I accidentally typed cock instead of cook. I thought you should know.)

But yeah, I totally get it that cooking beans can be daunting and intimidating*

So, fresh from the stove or straight from a can, have your lentils ready and give this dip a try.

 

*No I don’t. It’s easy.

 

Lentil Sunflower Dip

 

 

Lentil Sunflower Dip

-1 can (or 1 C fresh) brown lentils

-1 Tbs. lime juice

-Sea salt and pepper, to taste

-1 to 2 Tbs. sunflower seeds

-Chives

 

If using canned lentils, drain and rinse well. Blend everything together except the sunflower seeds and chives. Mix them in at the end. Can’t get any easier!

 

Now don’t go ruining this shit by downing along a bag of pita chips or some other similar crap. Eat your damn veggies, alright?

 

Advertisements

I Tried Thinking Of Something Less Lame Than ‘That’s A Wrap!’. But Failed.

Standard

Some days I’m little miss overachiever and I can clean the house, prepare a meal and photograph it, study, edit entries, bake school snacks, sell items on eBay, search new music for dance class, and go to work.

And then other days…

For those days when just rolling out of bed makes me feel like I deserve a round of applause there is nothing as refreshing and comforting as fresh veggies. Because they’re ready to eat.

You don’t even have to chop them nicely. I won’t tell.

Now, I won’t insult your intelligence calling this a recipe because it isn’t; it’s more of a meal idea for times when you could be doing something way more important than cooking. Like watching Hoarders.

Also, it’s a healthy meal which means you’re totally playing the responsible adult card even when you know you have an ulterior motive called sloth. I get it. No judgment.

Just grab all and any veggies you can get your hands on and roll them up in a whole wheat wrap (mine were whole wheat and grains or something. That’s why you can see the flax seed.) I used red and yellow bell pepper, mushrooms, red onion and green onion, with a side of organic baby carrots and green salad with raw honey- ACV dressing. To your wraps you can add a yummy spread on one side so it sticks shut and doesn’t unwrap. In this case I used hummus sprinkled with paprika and cayenne, but you can also use Baba Ganouj, Tzatziki, mashed avocado, walnut sauce, etc.

Eat, feel like a champ (because it is veggies, you know) and take it easy the rest of the day. You have my permission.

Food Porn

Standard

It’s a gorgeous day outside and my daughter is off school for the day, so no recipe to share today, just some food porn.

Meet my breakfast:

 

Real food is so beautiful.

 

And, you know what? It makes you feel beautiful, too.

 

 

 

Wild and precious, indeed.

 

Are you on Pinterest? Find me there as carobl

 

Happy weekend!

 

Pack A Picnic. Like A Boss. (Three recipes)

Standard

Last night my daughter and I went with some friends to the local beach park for an outdoor showing of The Muppets, the movie, and had a great time.

Movie-watching has little to do with fitness, but eating always has to do with health. And so I set out to find delicious yumminess to bring in lieu of movie theater candy, and judging by the obscene amount of sweetly spiced nuts I ate before we even got to the movie, I think I got it right.

And the popcorn, oh the popcorn. It has that cinema flavor without being drowned in butter, and that to me is priceless.

To top off the sweetness (and mainly to share because clearly I was in no condition to split my spicy caramel nuts with anyone) I made chocolate covered banana mini popsicles.

Let the show begin.

 

Homemade Cinema-style Popcorn

1 1/2 Tbs of Coconut oil

1 C of kernel popcorn

sea salt

This can’t get any easier: just melt the coconut oil at medium-high heat in a large pan with lid, and once hot drop in 3 kernels to see if they pop. When they do, add in the rest of the kernels making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan (you may have to split the kernels into two batches); sprinkle with sea salt. Cover and listen to the wonderful pop pop pop. When the racket slows down remove the pan from the heat to prevent burning. That’s it! Then you’ll just have to do it all over again after you wolf down the first batch in 15 seconds flat (a purely hypothetical situation. Really.)

 

Sweetly Spiced Nut Mix

2 C of mixed nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans

1/4 C turbinado sugar (raw sugar)

2 Tbs butter

2 Tbs water

1 Tbs raw honey

1/8 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp cayenne

Place the nuts in a large skillet and roast them lightly at medium heat, moving them around often and making sure they don’t burn. In a small saucepan heat the honey, butter, water and turbinado sugar until it becomes like a syrup. Medium-low heat is best to prevent the sugar from burning. Add the spices to the syrup, mix it well, and drizzle all over the roasted nuts in the pan.

Once they’re all evenly covered pass them to a sheet of aluminum foil to cool down, making sure you separate them with a fork. Stop yourself from eating them all in one sitting. Seriously.

I can see how these nuts would make a great homemade house-warming or Christmas present in a pretty glass jar with a nice ribbon. See, you come here for the fitness and health but you get so much more than that. You’re welcome.

 

Chocolate Covered Banana Mini Popsicles

1/4 C of semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 Tbs coconut oil (a little bit more if you find you need it as it melts)

2 bananas, cut in 6 pieces each

Ground peanuts and/or shredded coconut (optional)

Put your 12 pieces of banana in the freezer, on wax paper, to harden. In the meanwhile, place the chocolate chips and the coconut oil in a glass bowl and warm it in the microwave in 15 second increases. After every 15 seconds mix it well and heat again until completely melted.

Dip each frozen banana bit in the chocolate and then roll over the crushed peanuts or coconut, if using. Bring each piece back into the freezer to set. They’re ready after about 20 minutes. You can use popsicle sticks or even toothpicks for easier handling. Voila!

The chocolate covered bananas are typically made with a mixture of chocolate chips and Crisco (vegetable shortening), but then I learned somewhere that coconut oil works just as well because it hardens fast at low temperatures. It does work! Coconut oil beats out greasy shortening in my book any day.

I should tell you that the pictures for this post came from what is likely the fastest photo shoot this blog has ever seen. Turns out that in less than 5 minutes tiny pieces of peanuts began to mysteriously walk off the plate. Apparently ants can appreciate good food, too. I’ll take that as a compliment, you sneaky buggers.

Add an assortment of fruits and fresh veggies and you’re all set. An easy and hassle-free picnic lunch, just like I like it.

This is still junky food, so don’t get too excited making this stuff every other day. It’s way better than regular movie theater popcorn, store bought ice cream sandwiches and big manufacturer flavored nuts, but still. Food is ours to be enjoyed for sure, but it isn’t enjoyment if you eat, say, like Louis C. K does:

 

Also, I’m happy to report that my guinea pigs lovely friends seemed to quite like the goodies I made. So this means so far I have the approval of nice Canadians and ants. Your turn.

 

The Prizewinning Breakfast Cereal

Standard

When it comes to grams of fiber and protein content this cereal takes the imaginary prize.

How’s your fiber intake, by the way? It looks like a jolly good mornin’ to talk about poops. SO LET’S.

NOT the kind of fiber I’m talking about.

You already know that you need fiber to get things moving in… um… the evacuation route. But if you’re like the average North American (and that includes you, Mexico) then your fiber intake is likely lacking.

While we’re at it let’s set the record straight: Eating a bar of Fiber 1 will not make up for the amount or quality of fiber that your body needs. It’s called marketing, darling.

I highly doubt that any commercial brand of cereal or bar can offer what our body really needs. And this is why I set out on a search, a journey, if you will. I journey-ed all the way to my kitchen to experiment until coming up with the most kick-ass (clean-ass?) cereal I could possibly muster.

If you’ve been reading me for a while you’ll know that I’m a true believer in effective eating– getting the most nutrients packed in one single meal. Considering this, I decided that my cereal had to comply with the following characteristics:

-Very high fiber content

-Very high protein content

-Made entirely of whole foods

-Easy to make and store

-Easy to modify to different tastes/flavors

-Cost-effective

It took me a while to do some research because I wanted to make sure I was choosing the best of the best ingredients. And here we have the finalists of the awesome cereal pageant:

Millet- High in magnesium (which fights migraines and asthma and protects the heart). High in phosphorus (aids in tissue and muscle recovery, as well as bone density– imperative for athletes!). High in insoluble fiber.

Teff- Extremely high in calcium, Vitamin C and dietary protein. Many of Ethiopia’s famed long-distance runners attribute their energy and health to teff.

Amaranth- High content of the amino acid lysine (for tissue growth and repair), and of the minerals calcium, iron and magnesium. One of the Aztec foods of choice, and again, if it was good enough for mighty warriors it’s certainly good enough for you and me.

Quinoa- Full spectrum of nine essential amino-acids, making it a complete protein. Also high in lysine. Good source of manganese and folate, along with many other nutrients.

Buckwheat- Rich in flavonoids, particularly rutin, which protect against disease by extending the action of vitamin C and acting as antioxidants.

Oats- Contain a specific kind of fiber called beta-glucan.

On top of all this, all of the above mentioned ingredients help improve heart health and keep heart disease away. They all help diabetics with the regulation of sugar, as well as preventing diabetes from appearing in the first place. They’re all super high in fiber, which contributes to colon health and keeping the risk of colon cancer away. Whole grains like these offer protection against atherosclerosis, ischemic stroke, insulin resistance, obesity, and premature death.

Whole grains are also important dietary sources of water-soluble, fat-soluble, and insoluble antioxidants, and include vitamin E, tocotrieonols, selenium, phenolic acids, and phytic acid. Whew!

So we have a winner.

 

The Cereal That Will Clean Kick Your Ass

Remember that you can alter the quantities to your liking. This is just an approximate of what I used in my version, but you can certainly switch it around to your convenience.

About 2 1/2 C of water, enough so that your cereal doesn’t go dry and burn

1/4 C quinoa

1/4 C millet

1/4 C teff

2 Tbs buckwheat

2 Tbs oats

2 Tbs popped amaranth

Milk of your liking (I used rice)

Quality salt (I used Himalayan pink sea salt. Kosher salt, Celtic salt and sea salt are good options. Anything but regular table salt.)

Quality sweetener (I used Sucanat)

Toppings of your liking (see below for a list of suggestions)

Before anything I popped my amaranth. You can cook it with the rest of the grains, but I really prefer the taste of popped amaranth (plus it reminds me of home). It’s super fast and easy, look here.

Soak the millet and quinoa for 15 minutes, and rinse. Place them in a saucepan with about 2 cups of water and the buckwheat, bring to a boil and salt lightly. After about 10 minutes add the Teff and let it continue cooking. After 5 minutes add the oats and stir until the oats are cooked and tender. Make sure your water isn’t completely gone because your cereal will burn.

Once this porridge is ready serve it in a bowl, sprinkle the popped amaranth, add your milk of choice and your toppings. That’s it!

Tips: Buckwheat has a very strong, overpowering taste. I’d recommend you keep the ratio of buckwheat really low, particularly in the beginning, if you’re just starting to get used to it.

And water. I can’t say this enough. WATER WATER WATER WATER WATER WATER. Fiber is awesome at sweeping your insides, but it does need water to swoosh all the yuckies out. DRINK WATER. LOTS OF WATER. OFTEN. ALWAYS.

Toppings to use:

Fruits- Strawberries, blueberries, banana, unsweetened coconut flakes, peaches, mango.

Seeds- Pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, chia, ground flaxseed.

Nuts- Almonds, walnuts, pecans, pine nuts.

Milk- Rice, almond, hemp, organic soy, coconut.

Sweetener- Sucanat, Turbinado sugar, Rapadura (what in Mexico we call piloncillo)

 

Stock your bathroom with good reading material, if you’re into that sort of thing. Not that you’ll be spending a whole lot of time in there, mind you, because this cereal will guarantee that things travel fast, smooth and effectively.

Love thy poops. <3

 

Because You Asked: Sugarless Chocolate Energy Bars

Standard

My cousin Jose is pretty awesome to his own account: He’s always been a brainiac, he launched his own succesful company, has a lovely wife that I genuinely like, and competes in marathons and triathlons. Also, he has self-dubbed himself as “my favorite cousin”, so to all my other cousins, this is a call to step up your game if you want a chance at winning the coveted title of my favoritest. And I know you do. Sending me copious amounts of gifts is a good place to start.

Anyway, when Jose asked me about a good recipe for energy bars it was as if he’d read my mind because I had already been tinkering away in my kitchen trying to find the perfect combination for a bar recipe. Have you ever read the ingredients in the average granola bars? Shit, baloney, crap and hogwash. That’s what they’re made of.

So of course a homemade version was in order, something that could provide sustainable slow-release energy in between meals, that won’t make me crash, that provides zing for before workouts and protein for after, and that won’t make me cringe when feeding it to my 10 year-old daughter.

One thing I knew for sure: It had to have chocolate. I mean, who doesn’t like chocolate? (Don’t tell me if you don’t. I’ll totally judge you.)

But how dare I call is sugarless if it has chocolate? These bars do indeed taste like chocolatey heaven, but they rely on pure cocoa for that, and on dates for the sweetness factor. I wish I could take credit for the use of dates but I didn’t invent the wheel, dates are used in all sorts of recipes as a natural sweetener. Because they work like a fucking charm.

Big extra points because you can chuck in any seeds or nuts you have in hand, making this super adaptable and easy to make.

And so I present you with a bar of such beauty that it makes angels cry and unicorns puke rainbows:

Sugarless Chocolate Energy Bar (Makes 6)

1 C dried dates

1 C almonds (alternatively: sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pecans, a combination of all… your call)

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbs cocoa powder

1/4 C pure chocolate (I used Lindt 90% cocoa bar. You can go a lower grade so it’s sweeter, or you can combine with a bit of semi-sweet chocolate chips, though these do contain sugar.)

a dash of salt

Take your dry dates, place them in a glass bowl and soak them in boiling water for about 20 minutes. I left mine soaking for about 2 hours because I forgot about them, and they were a bit too mushy. Place all your other ingredients (almonds, cocoa, vanilla, chocolate and salt) in your blender and blend. After the soaking time is up, drain the dates and add them to the mixture in the blender. Process for about a minute, empty mixture into a loaf pan and even out the surface. Chill it in the fridge to allow the ingredients to settle, then cut into bars.

 

These bars are easy to carry, work great as snacks or quick pick-me-upper, they don’t require baking or cooking, and can be frozen for later use. And they have chocolate. Anything I missed?

Also, the lesson to learn is ask and you shall receive. If you have any ideas or requests of recipes or ingredients you’d like to see here all you have to do is let me know. If you’re too difficult I’ll just ignore you. Unless you send me gifts.

 

For The Munchies: Banana-Kefir Muffins

Standard

Don’t give me that look, we all need baked goodies every now and then.

How much damage or benefit we choose to make with said goodies… that’s a whole other story.

I’m less that cheerful because I just realized my Healthy Potatoes post went up with just the picture and not a word of what I typed. What the heck. This is very inconvenient because the info I had written there was connected to this post as well, but I’m too lazy to re-type it all. Oh well.

Basically what you need to know is that milk kefir is awesome. It’s very similar to yogurt in that they’re both made out of bacterial cultures that grow in milk; they’re alike in consistency and looks as well. They have a similar taste, though I find kefir a bit more tart. Also, kefir offers many, many more benefits to your body than yogurt, especially to your gut in the form of beneficial bacteria. How many benefits? Read this list in awe.

In baking it’s important to remember the potential triad of awfulness: the sugar, the flour, the oil.

Why? Because regular white sugar is pure evil, bleached white flour is useless and regular vegetable oil is gross.

Are you done reading the links? Carry on.

With this info in mind I took a regular muffin recipe and switched the main ingredients into stuff I actually want to eat.

The result: Delicious, fluffy, spongy muffins.

Muffins That Aren’t Trying To Murder You (makes 12)

1 1/2 or 2 bananas, mashed (I used 1 1/2)

1 1/4 C whole wheat flour

3/4 C unbleached flour

1/2 C healthier sugar: Sucanat, turbinado, rapadura, coconut sugar, etc. (I used Sucanat and loved it)

2 Tbs coconut oil, melted. Plus more for coating the muffin tin.

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 C kefir

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 C chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds (optional) (I used pecans)

Preheat the oven to 350 F and coat the muffin tin with coconut oil. In one bowl mix together the dry ingredients: flours, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl whisk the wet ingredients: egg, mashed bananas, vanilla, kefir and melted coconut oil.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones and mix gently just until it’s all combined and moist. Fold in the chopped nuts, if you’re using. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin. Bake for about 20 min., until they’re golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

I attribute the soft sponginess of these puppies to the kefir, as I’ve read that it does wonders in baking when substituting it instead of buttermilk. You can find kefir definitely at health food stores, but possibly also in your supermarket in the fridge section, where the yogurts are (it’s sold in plastic tubs like the yogurt ones, as well.)

What makes these muffins even more perfect is that they can be frozen to store and eat later. Be still, my heart.